BROWNSVILLE, Texas (KVEO) — Transgender awareness week is observed the second week of November, and it is a time to uplift and remember the lives lost of one of the most marginalized communities.
In Brownsville, residents are working to spread awareness.
“In my experience misgendering is a huge issue,” said Marquez.
They grew up in Chicago and now calls the Rio Grande Valley home.
“There are a little bit more limited resources here and my experience of being with the trans nonbinary community. There’s a lot of education that needs to happen with our community members,” they said.
They’re part of a task force in Brownsville formed earlier this year working to bring fairness to all.
“It’s really important to be able to address the need from our community members and hear from the folks that are directly impacted,” they said.
Bryan Martinez and Roy De Los Santos are also members of the task force with the goal to help the city understand the community.
“That’s one of the primary responsibilities that we got coming back to them with recommendations and any concerns that we got,” said Santos.
They’re working on policies and ordinances for the city to protect LGBTQ+ residents. Some issues are addressing issues facing the community including health and mental care.
Santos said an incident on a Facebook post when marriage equality passed that is one form of discrimination.
“There was a comment made by a city employee that was quite offensive that put into question whether or not as a LGBTQ individual I can expect fair treatment from the city employee,” said Santos.
Transgender Awarness Week is a time to shed light on the struggles for safety and equality of trans and non-binary people.
“We know that black trans women are very targeted we see that throughout the nation that’s a huge issue,” said Marquez.
Black trans women are disproportionally killed at a higher rate. According to the Human Rights Campaign, this year alone 36 Black and Latin trans people have been murdered.
“It’s important to allow trans folks to speak and represent themselves for what they’re going through because even within the LGBTQ community sometimes we face discrimination,” they said.
The future for the force looks bright. Organizers hope to continue to grow the force and address the needs of people.
Marquez adds it’s all about being advocates for others and centering people who need the most help.
“Be who you needed when you were younger. Being younger I needed that queer community,” they said.
They’re encouraging people of the community to fill out the survey to see what the task force needs to prioritize. The survey will close on December 31, 2020 at 11:59pm CST.